We’ve all been there – overindulged on all the festive food and wound up feeling like a stuffed turkey, in the most uncomfortable of ways.
Stomach bloating is a common problem that occurs after eating too much. So it’s not really surprising if you feel permanently puffed up at the moment, with all the office parties, family occasions and festive drinks – and that’s before you’ve arrived at Christmas Day itself.
The festive season is one of letting go and ultimate indulgence, a time to enjoy yourself. But, if you have a sensitive digestive system, you’ll find yourself with more challenges to deal with, particularly when the season is in full swing for the entire month of December.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I have already had a few mince pies, Fortnum & Mason hot chocolate made with Rebel Kitchen’s delicious nut Mylk (I couldn’t wait!) and mulled wine.
Why does my stomach balloon when I have a few festive treats?
Stomach bloating can be caused by a number of things, from constipation to a food intolerance. The reason why our stomachs bloat is usually due to excess wind, which is created when the digestive system struggles to break down certain foods, plus the sheer volume of the food that it’s trying to cope with.
Christmas is there to be enjoyed, and while I’m not suggesting you deprive yourself, there are measures you can take to ensure you feel your best during the festivities.
I receive so many enquiries from people at this time of year, worried that they will be unable to participate in the celebrations because of their digestive and gut health problems. For this very reason, this year, I have put together my Christmas Survival Guide, full of tips on how to manage your tummy over the festive season, and still have a treat or two.
What is bloating?
Abdominal bloating occurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or gas. Most people describe bloating as feeling full, tight, or swollen in the abdomen. Your abdomen may also be swollen (distended), hard, and painful. Bloating is often accompanied by:
- Excessive gas (flatulence)
- Frequent burping or belching
- Abdominal rumbling or gurgles
What causes bloating?
Excess gas is the most common cause of bloating, especially after eating. Gas builds up in the digestive tract when undigested food gets broken down or when you swallow air. Bloating can also be caused by:
- Eating or drinking too fast
- Talking whilst eating
- Chewing gum
- Eating sweets that contain artificial sweeteners
- Delayed emptying of the stomach
Other causes of bloating may be due to medical conditions. These include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Other functional gastrointestinal disorders
- Food intolerance
- Gall stones
- Hiatus hernia
- Weight gain
- Mental health factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, and more
- Some medications, including long-term use of antibiotics, antacids, and steroids
Abdominal bloating can also be a symptom of several serious conditions, including:
- Bowel cancer
- Diverticular disease
- Ischaemic bowel disease
- Bowel adhesions
- Liver disease, kidney failure, or congestive heart failure
- Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance
- Pancreatic insufficiency, which is impaired digestion because the pancreas cannot produce enough enzymes that help to properly break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
If you’ve suddenly developed bloating, and it is there 24/7, then this needs checking out by your GP. Don’t assume that the bloating is due to something you’ve eaten. It may be something more serious and it’s always best to get it checked out and nip things in the bud.
One of the most common enquiries I get is regarding bloating. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been asked, ‘Why is my tummy flat in the morning, but by the evening I look 6 months pregnant?’ This is why I knew it would be helpful to compile a brochure providing information and tips to help manage and get rid of this often embarrassing symptom.
In my next blog post, I will talk in more detail about how to offset the side effects of a few festive excesses so that you can enjoy Christmas and ensure you don’t start the new year feeling bloated and sluggish. To get a head start, how about trying the tummy-proofing supplements in my Christmas Survival Kit?
The Live Bacteria capsules, Digestive Enzymes tablets, Milk Thistle tablets and Tummy Tea pyramids support gut health and build immunity, and will keep you on track during this season of indulgence. You can buy my Kit by clicking on the image below:
This is what Alison had to say after taking the supplements in my Christmas Survival Kit:
“The Christmas Survival Kit was an absolute blessing. I was feeling apprehensive about the effect the rich food, extra drinking and late nights may have on my tummy, but the Live Bacteria probiotic capsules, Digestive Enzymes tablets, Milk Thistle tablets and Tummy Tea ‘pyramids’ were fantastic – and my tummy was the best it has been for months. I am now about to embark on the Charcoal cleanse as recommended by Linda. Thank you so much for helping me!”